68th Annual New Year School and Conference Held

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has opened the 68th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana. The 68th ANYSC was on the theme “Promoting National Development through Agricultural Modernization: The Role of ICT.”

In his address, the President stated that the theme for the 68th ANYSC was a big step towards the establishment of initiatives and actions for making the country’s agriculture sector more productive and sustainable.

HE President Akufo Addo

The President stressed that the vision of his government was to regenerate the agricultural sector by harnessing value chain processes to create new businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing, packaging, and marketing, to ensure that farmers and fishermen are enabled to earn higher incomes.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, reiterated that agriculture is the backbone of every economy, and emphasized the major role ICT plays in the agricultural sector, especially in its capacity to create job opportunities, thereby reducing poverty, creating wealth, and promoting national development.

Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu - Vice Chancellor

The Senior Food and Nutrition Officer, FAO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Ag Bendech Mohamed, in a statement, noted that the development actors need to understand the traditional processes of farmer innovation in order to succeed in bringing ICT closer to farmers. He indicated that local innovation drives technology which in turn drives change and improves local knowledge.

The Minister designate for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Honourable Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who delivered the keynote address for the ANYSC, addressed the need to generate more wealth in the agricultural sector in order to improve the livelihood of farmers and fisher folks, and help grow the national economy. He indicated that commitment to wealth generation in agriculture will drive the government’s plan to launch a national campaign dubbed “Planting for Food and Jobs.’’

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister Designate for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Dr. Akoto stressed that the campaign will be designed to encourage all citizens to take up farming as a full or part-time activity. Dr. Akoto estimated that the campaign will generate additional income of over one billion Ghana cedis.

The Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, Professor Michael Tagoe, who is also the Acting Provost of the College of Education, noted that the School and Conference has over the years provided a platform for the discussion of topical issues, and pointed out that, for the last three years, themes for the School have focused on how Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) can be used as an enabler of socio-economic development.

Prof. Michael Tagoe, Dean, SCDE and Acting Provost, College of Education

He observed that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda makes a strong case for global connectedness and the spread of ICTs have boundless potential to not only modernize agriculture, but also to accelerate human development and progress, bridge the growing digital divide and develop knowledge societies. Professor Tagoe stressed that the Social Development Goal (SDG) 2, which focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture and productivity, can be met through the rapid deployment and utilization of ICTs by farmers and those who work in the agricultural sector.

Present at the opening ceremony were University officials, members of the Advisory Board of the College of Education; members of the School Management Committee of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, students and participants of the 68th ANYSC.

The importance of ICT in agricultural modernization formed the building block of all the activities of the School and Conference, with seven sub-themes extensively discussed:

• Modernizing agriculture through information, communication and technology(ICT)
• E-Solutions and agricultural productivity
• E-extension and adoption in Agriculture
• E-agriculture and the youth
• Strengthening the agricultural value chain through ICT
• Agricultural financing and insurance
• ICT, Climate change and agricultural production

The various sessions discussed a wide range of topics related to the theme. Resource persons drawn from academia and industry effectively engaged participants on the thematic areas.

Participants were representatives from district and municipal assemblies, entrepreneurs, officials from government agencies and students. Resource persons were from academia, the farming industry and the business community.

At the end of deliberations, a communique was released, which is to be presented to government.

The 68th Annual New Year School and Conference was sponsored by Graphic Communications Group Limited, Exim Bank, MTN, COCOBOD, KOSMOS Energy, ISSER and CitiFM.

A group picture after the opening ceremony

Click here to download the communique of the 68th Annual New Year School and Conference.

Click here to view additional pictures from the 68th Annual New Year School and Conference.